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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tuesday Review: AleSmith Speedway Stout

By Mark Iacopelli

AleSmith Brewing Company was established in 1995 in San Diego. Their history is deeply rooted in homebrewing and, more to the point, brewing beers at home that expanded style boundaries. Today the brewery has decorated its walls with nine World Beer Cup medals (five gold) and sixteen GABF medals. They also won Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year Awards in 2008. The current owner, Peter Zien, is a Grand Master beer judge. The most noteworthy beer they brew is Speedway Stout.

Some see stouts as a style of beer reserved for the cold winter months. AleSmith Speedway Stout has recently made its way to the local market and will prove that a good imperial stout can be enjoyed at any time. This 12% behemoth is imbued with coffee and has numerous variants (including a barrel-aged version) but always has a coffee influence.

When first poured the appearance is pitch black with a small tan head that does not persist. The aroma is initially very chocolate forward with a subtle coffee and bread note in the background. As the beer warms up the coffee comes through and takes the focus. The first sip slapped me in the face with intense roast. It had a big chewy mouthfeel and dryness from the roasted malts. As the beer ran across the palate, rich dark chocolate and coffee came through and continued into the finish. The alcohol was apparent at first but not overly boozy or hot. As the beer warmed, the alcohol, coffee, chocolate and roast melded together and each play a more equal role in the beer’s character. Added to that was a burnt note with sweetness and stone-fruit character that was difficult to detect initially. The finish still had a touch of sweetness despite the roast and coffee creating so much dryness.

Speedway Stout is known nationwide and for good reason. Any beer fan in love with big stouts and KBS especially will find a year-round substitute in this bottle. This beer will pair well with grilled red meats, chocolate desserts and vanilla ice-cream with red berries. Find it at Siciliano’s Market in 750ml foil-wrapped bottles for $13.99. We also carry a handful of other mainstays crafted by AleSmith.

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